Years ago, we were shocked to learn that two men who had been part of the insurgency in Iraq and bragged to undercover officers about killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq had been living amongst us in our city.

Many questions heard from friends, family members and colleagues at the time were how and why terrorists would come to Bowling Green. “Why were they in our country in the first place?” was one of the questions many people asked. And people were just dismayed that they made it from Iraq to our city because when one thinks about terror cells they don’t think of our city, but rather much bigger metropolitan areas.

Having learned that they made it to our city and were trying to acquire weapons to aid the insurgency in Iraq was really hard to swallow. It was quite obvious that these men were not properly vetted and should have never been allowed into our country. Someone dropped the ball big time.

Those two insurgents were tried and were both sentenced to very long prison terms. The sentences were definitely appropriate, and we’re glad they are where they belong and are no longer in our midst.

Some people have forgotten about these two because they are out of sight and out of mind. As the years went by, this newspaper and citizens in general probably never really thought we would have this happen again in our city, but apparently it has.

Last week, this newspaper’s police and court reporter, Justin Story, wrote a story about Mirsad Hariz Adem Ramic, who is charged with providing and attempting and conspiring to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, as well as receiving military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The federal criminal complaint filed July 7, 2016, by FBI Special Agent William Kurtz outlines the reasons for suspecting Ramic joined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a designated foreign terrorist organization, which was known initially as al-Qaida in Iraq and was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. secretary of state in 2004. In 2014, the secretary of state amended the designation to add ISIL as the organization’s primary name, and the organization is also commonly referred to as ISIS.

Ramic is believed to have left the country in 2014 with two co-conspirators who are identified in the criminal complaint as Saudi nationals who came to the U.S. on student visas and attended Western Kentucky University.

Ramic was not a WKU student, but a number of civilian witnesses told the FBI they often saw him socialize with the two co-conspirators, one of whom is believed to have been killed in 2015 while fighting a Kurdish militia group in Syria.

The FBI obtained emails among Ramic and the two co-conspirators.

In a July 30, 2014, email, Ramic and a co-conspirator discussed how he used an anti-aircraft weapon to shoot at planes, and Ramic said in a separate email from that date that he was in Syria, the complaint said.

While Ramic is afforded the right to a fair trial, the FBI’s case against him appears very strong. If it is proven in court that Ramic was a part of ISIL and that he shot at U.S. or coalition planes as his emails state, then he obviously needs to be taken off the streets.

We will wait until the verdict comes out in Ramic’s case before calling him guilty because he is afforded the right of innocent until proven guilty, but it does raise some very serious concerns about the effectiveness of our vetting process.

If he is found guilty, why was he allowed entry into our country and ultimately into our city?

The answers to that remain to be seen, but one thing that is clear is that there must be a much better vetting process for people coming from certain countries. Given the number of citizens from Saudi Arabia who were involved in the 9/11 attack on our country, you would think Ramic’s two alleged co-conspirators would have been vetted very carefully.

Another concern is our Southern border. By letting people come into our country with little consequence as President Joe Biden has been doing since taking office, we are providing terrorists who wish us harm a good chance to come in undetected.

Biden’s policies on the border are and continue to be a national security crisis. If it is found out that any terrorists that are apprehended and convicted in court came through Mexico, that is 110% on Biden.

At the end of the day, people like the Iraqi terrorists shouldn’t have been in our country, and it appears Ramic shouldn’t have been in our country, let alone our city.

A much better, efficient vetting process of people coming here is essential, and it must be done now so no more of these sick jihadists come into our country to try to harm us.

“Our Opinion” pieces in the Bowling Green Daily News exclusively represent the majority opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or beliefs of any other Daily News employees.

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